In this blog I will talk about our amazing feet on which stands the whole body structure. The fact that we are able to stand with our height on such a small area (of course in collaboration with the rest of the body) seems amazing to me.
In Qigong feet and their condition are important from various but interrelated aspects.
- One of them is a correct alignment (posture). Here is important on which spots the soles of the feet are in contact with the ground, how we transfer our weight, what are conditions of feet muscles and ligaments and of course what are relationships of the feet and the rest of the body. Correct alignment of the body is very important for effective functioning of our physical body. But it is also closely connected with the functioning of energy body system as enable a smooth qi flow through energy channels…
- Feet have also an important role in building our energy roots which is a part of Taoist Qigong practice. There are spots on the feet, Yongquan points (K-1), through which healing energy of the Earth enters into the body and nourishes it. (Read more about this topic in a blog about Energy Gates.)
Feet and their correct alignment
When you are aware that our body is interconnected from the sole of your feet to the top of the head it is clear that a whole body alignment can be affected by the condition of your feet.
The importance of a good foundation
We all know how important are good foundation. Building with bad foundation may start to incline, crack, and decay. Also the tree with shallow roots is easily extracted by wind.
The human structure is no different! It is only much more adaptable as building and it is capable to compensate a numerous irregularities of its foundation (feet). This means that others parts of the body adapts to a certain condition of the feet. If this lasts very long, it can happen for example that the spine can curve sideway (scoliosis). Flat feet, for example, in a long term leads to joints (ankle, knee, hip…) or spine problems.
Of course it can be also reverse. Conditions of other parts of the body may affect the condition of the feet. For example, flat feet condition is in a Traditional Chinese Medicine often related to weak Kidneys energy.
Ideal contact of the sole of the foot with the ground
For supporting correctly entire structure of the body when standing, there are ideally nine points where sole of the foot should be in contact with the ground: 5 toes, big ball (under the big toe), small ball (under the little toe), outer edge and heel.
Increased pressure under single points on the feet
If all above mentioned areas are not in a contact with the ground, the pressure under the areas which are contacting the ground is increased considerably. In time this can cause deformities of the feet and pains could arise. If this condition lasts long period of time it can cause above mentioned mis-alignments in other parts of the body (joints, spine…).
Footprints tell story about feet alignment
If we observe our wet footprints on the ground we can easily find out how our feet support us. We can see which of nine points are in a contact with the ground, on which of these points our body rely more and on which less.
In the case that a structural position of your feet is already abnormal, the footprints will show you that some of nine points you don’t use at all and that some other areas are in contact with the ground.
Conscious awareness of the feet
In Qigong we try to learn how to “read” condition of the body by feeling and not rely only on a sight. We learn to consciously connect with our body and of course also with our soles of the feet.
Try to explore and feel the current relation of your soles of the feet with the ground. Stand in a basic posture, shoulder width apart, close your eyes and try to feel on which areas your soles are in contact with the ground. Try to observe and feel which areas are tenser and where the pressure is higher. Even if your feet are “normal” you will probably notice that there are some tense areas. This is normal as nobody is perfectly aligned.
Mind leads Qi, Qi influences matter
In Qigong we try to connect with body structures on all levels, from the most superficial to the deepest by using a soft awareness of our mind. Energy can be lead in certain area only if we are “connected” with this area, if we can feel it. Let’s try a following exercise.
Exercise for re-alignment of the feet
Stand in a basic posture, with feet in a shoulder width apart, eyes closed, breathing is calm and slow. Bring your awareness to the feet and to their contact with the ground. Imagine that your feet are contacting the ground in all nine points. If you feel that in singular points there is no contact, don’t try to make the contact to happen by physically moving your feet. Just keep your awareness of nine points and breathe.
Allow your body to start with small, micro-corrections by itself. Most likely you can feel this as if the toe which before wasn’t in a contact with the ground is starting to move itself in a direction of the ground and maybe it will also reach the ground. This motion might be followed by other micro-movements of the feet tissue which is adapting to the new situation.
This would probably not happen to you already after few exercises. Your mind must first give up any plan of action. Then it would be enough calm to be able only to observe and allow the body to use its inner wisdom.
When you are familiar with above exercise, you can try to “walk” with your mind throughout all nine points, one by one. Start with the big ball under a big toe, then a big toe, second toe…. to the little toe, small ball under a little toe, outer edge and heel. It is sufficient to keep your awareness on each area for few seconds or maybe one to two breaths. When you have finished with all nine points, bring your awareness again to all nine points together and try to keep this unified feeling, deep connection of the soles of the feet with the ground. Stay with these for few breaths. Open your eyes and sway on your feet until all eventual tension disappear.
You can do this exercise for a few minutes in the beginning or in the end of your daily Qigong practice or anytime during the day. After a few months of regular practice you should feel quite a big difference in your feet alignment and in the connection of the feet with a ground.
May the Qi be with you!
Photo: Pixabay, http://www.stepforward.com/product/information, PetarSmiljana Qigong
Reference: Mantak Chia: Iron Shirt Chi Kung I, Universal Tao Center, 1986
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